Coachmen expands; hiring workers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Coachmen expands; hiring workers

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April 4, 2003

FITZGERALD - From the first rivots to the finishing touches, 175 Coachmen employees turn out ten travel trailers and fifth wheels a day . At a time when many are cutting back, the Fitzgerald company has plans to make more.

"We feel strongly in the American economy, and desire for our products, so that when pendulum swings back the other way, our people will be able to capitalize," Plant Manager Lawton Tinley said.

To do it they've acquired a plant twice the size, and will hire as many as 100 workers in the first year. That plant a mile down the road will be using aluminum frames, but the jobs ranging from electrician to manufacturer will be much the same.

"Everyone has a specific job, and they are highly trained to do it, things have to fit in our particular business," Tinley said.

"From trimming out cabinets, to everything, I enjoy the variety of what i do," manufacturer Dale Ricks said. What's the reason for the jobs with bonuses coming to Fitzgerald? It's not purely foolish optimism. RV sales are well ahead of automobiles, likely because of two contributing factors. "We are an economic indicator. We're first to see it go down and we're first to see it come up," Tinley said. "There is a demand for our products"

With fewer people flying, recreational vehicles are moving up the ranks as a transportation of choice. Good news for one South Georgia town.

The new Coachmen plant will open in June. They are accepting applications and will begin interviews this month.

posted at 5:25 p.m. by dave.d'marko@walb.com